Python - History

Guido Van Rossum, a Dutch programmer, created Python programming language. In the late 80’s, he had been working on the development of ABC language in a computer science research institute named Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in the Netherlands. In 1991, Van Rossum conceived and published Python as a successor of ABC language.

For many uninitiated people, the word Python is related to a species of snake. Rossum though attributes the choice of the name Python to a popular comedy series "Monty Python's Flying Circus" on BBC.

Being the principal architect of Python, the developer community conferred upon him the title of "Benevolent Dictator for Life (BDFL). However, in 2018, Rossum relinquished the title. Thereafter, the development and distribution of the reference implementation of Python is handled by a nonprofit organization Python Software Foundation.

Important stages in the history of Python −

Python 0.9.0

Python’s first published version is 0.9. It was released in February 1991. It consisted of support for core object-oriented programming principles.

Python 1.0

In January 1994, version 1.0 was released, armed with functional programming tools, features like support for complex numbers etc.

Python 2.0

Next major version – Python 2.0 was launched in October 2000. Many new features such as list comprehension, garbage collection and Unicode support were included with it.

Python 3.0

Python 3.0, a completely revamped version of Python was released in December 2008. The primary objective of this revamp was to remove a lot of discrepancies that had crept in Python 2.x versions. Python 3 was backported to Python 2.6. It also included a utility named as python2to3 to facilitate automatic translation of Python 2 code to Python 3.

EOL for Python 2.x

Even after the release of Python 3, Python Software Foundation continued to support the Python 2 branch with incremental micro versions till 2019. However, it decided to discontinue the support by the end of year 2020, at which time Python 2.7.17 was the last version in the branch.

Current Version

Meanwhile, more and more features have been incorporated into Python’s 3.x branch. As of date, Python 3.11.2 is the current stable version, released in February 2023.

What’s New in Python 3.11?

One of the most important features of Python’s version 3.11 is the significant improvement in speed. According to Python’s official documentation, this version is faster than the previous version (3.10) by up to 60%. It also states that the standard benchmark suite shows a 25% faster execution rate.

  • Python 3.11 has a better exception messaging. Instead of generating a long traceback on the occurrence of an exception, we now get the exact expression causing the error.

  • As per the recommendations of PEP 678, the add_note() method is added to the BaseException class. You can call this method inside the except clause and pass a custom error message.

  • It also adds the cbroot() function in the maths module. It returns the cube root of a given number.

  • A new module tomllib is added in the standard library. TOML (Tom's Obvious Minimal Language) can be parsed with tomlib module function.

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